Environment

No more offshore oil drilling, SLO council says in wake of Trump order

Oil from the May 2015 pipeline spill fouls the shore of Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara County. The San Luis Obispo City Council has issued a resolution opposing new offshore oil and gas leases to prevent future spills.
Oil from the May 2015 pipeline spill fouls the shore of Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara County. The San Luis Obispo City Council has issued a resolution opposing new offshore oil and gas leases to prevent future spills.

The San Luis Obispo City Council has resolved to oppose any new oil and gas drilling off the California Coast, in response to an executive order signed in April by President Donald Trump that could open the door to offshore leases.

Citing climate action as a major city goal and joining a campaign led by the Center for Biological Diversity, the council unanimously passed a resolution voicing opposition to any new or expanded fossil fuel extraction in the Pacific Ocean.

“Oil drilling presents a clear and ever-present danger to the health and safety of residents, businesses and economies, with the threat of an oil spill potentially wreaking havoc on ecosystems, on human health, and economic activities,” the resolution states. “Fracking and related techniques, where water and chemicals are injected under high pressure to crack rock formations and free up petroleum products, are linked to water and air pollution, health concerns, and harm to marine wildlife.”

Mayor Heidi Harmon sent a May letter to the U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke on behalf of the council opposing revisions to the 2017-2022 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing program, which could open the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic oceans to drilling and fracking.

The council stated that no new offshore oil and gas leases have been issued in California since a 1969 well failure in the Santa Barbara Channel that caused a major environmental disaster.

About 100 people gathered Thursday, February 2, 2017, at Mission Plaza in San Luis Obispo to protest offshore oil drilling and to advocate for the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary.

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